August 31st marks the end of my twelve-month ministerial internship at Westside. With that life flashing before us, I desperately try to slow down the spinning orb in order to spend more time in grace and gratitude. Time to take inventory of all we have learned together. In this holy work of building a religious community, we have:
- Come to better know one another’s dreams, sorrows, and longings
- Celebrated awe, wonder, and what is life-sustaining and true
- Explored a one-dimensional, distorted story of immigrants and have stood in solidarity with the persecuted
- Spoken for truth and justice even knowing that the backlash can be contorted and painful
Thank you, my fellow travelers, for the offering of yourselves. For the acceptance of my timid beginnings, the middle of my fumbling to articulate a clear theology – that only led us into deep explorations together. And finally, for letting go as you move on to search for a minister who reflects the wonder of what you are, and my searching for a congregation that I can uphold and grow with into a shared, illuminated future. We are both an image and a reflection – moving toward a similar goal.
Thank you to everyone who welcomed and embraced my love, care, disorganization, and imperfect humanness. I want to especially thank the staff: Rev. Alex, Shannon, Cynthia, and Bert, and the Worship Council and Ministerial Intern Support Committee. In our time together, I have grown into a minister. In closing, I am leaving a poem, A Permeable Life by Quaker mystic Carrie Newcomer, who tells us to come to the edge of what challenges us and in full faith, lean in toward the light.
I want to leave enough room in my heart for the unexpected, For the mistake that becomes knowing, for the knowing that becomes wonder. For wonder that makes everything porous, allowing in and out all available light.
I would rather live unlocked, and more often than not astonished, which is possible if I am willing to surrender what I already think I know. So, I will stay open and companionably friendly, with all that presses out from the heart and comes in at a slant, and shimmers just below the surface of things.
~ Carrie Newcomer